Dr Patrick Wiseman (CO68)

When Patrick left Truro School in 1968, he went on to the University of Kent at Canterbury (UKC), at the time one of the “new” universities. There he studied mathematics and philosophy for his first year, moving to philosophy alone for the next two. At Truro School, Patrick remembers he had been a founding member of the Folk Club and had performed at several local venues, including the Folk Cottage at Mitchell. Naturally, Patrick joined the Folk Club at UKC, and became a regular performer, with a varied folk repertoire including several of his own compositions. There was a time when he thought he might become a professional singer-songwriter, but told us:

I came to my senses when an American visiting professor at UKC, from the University of New Hampshire, suggested I’d enjoy graduate school in the United States. He helped me with applications to several schools and, when I was offered a place at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colorado, he said, “go there, it’s one of the few livable places in the United States.”

Patrick told us that now he has lived in many places in the U.S. he thinks perhaps he exaggerated, but agreed that Boulder is indeed a very livable place. As Patrick approached the end of his Ph.D. studies, it became evident that the job market in philosophy was a cruel oxymoron, and so he applied to several law schools, fully intending to return to that job market with both a Ph.D. in philosophy and a law degree. Patrick had written his dissertation on the concept of mental health, a subject that continues to intrigue him, and was delighted to discover that mental health law was a burgeoning field. He became interested in disability law more generally because of a job in Atlanta during the summer following his first year at the Columbia University School of Law in New York City. Patrick also developed a deep and abiding interest in constitutional law, which he studied with then Professor, now U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Patrick became a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. during his first year of law school.

Following law school, Patrick served as judicial law clerk to Chief Judge Frank J. Battisti in the Northern District of Ohio, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was principally responsible for the school desegregation case the judge was overseeing. That experience deepened his interest in constitutional law.

Following the clerkship, Patrick accepted a position with the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO), in Atlanta, Georgia, with whose work he had become familiar with during that first summer job. GAO represented the interests of people with developmental disabilities. Patrick was there for almost three years when the opportunity to return to academia, something he had always intended to do, arose.

Patrick was offered an entry-level position at the Georgia State University College of Law, where he remains to this day and he has taught and written about many subjects over the years. For the last eighteen years, he has taught U.S. constitutional law, which is now Patrick’s area of specialisation.

In 2003, Patrick became a U.S. citizen, having finally come to the realization that, at least for now, it is home. He retains U.K. citizenship aswell so his options are open wrhen he comes to retire in a couple of years. Patrick’s wife of 25 years fell in love with Cornwall on her first visit, and a note that is not to be missed- they got married in the Truro School Chapel!